Sunday, 10 July 2016

Love in the Time of Tarantulas? Newfound Spider Named for Márquez

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | July 6, 2016 03:30pm ET

A fearsome tarantula covered in bizarre "attack" hairs has been discovered in a mountain range in Colombia. As an homage to the country where the new species was found, scientists named it Kankuamo marquezi, after Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian Nobel Prize-winning author of the classic novels "100 Years of Solitude" and "Love in the Time of Cholera."

The researchers realized they had a new genus and species of spider as soon as they examined it. The spider's "attack" hairs, or urticating hairs, look different from all other known tarantula hairs, the researchers found. Most tarantulas "kick" their urticating hairs at enemies, but the newfound spider is the first known species in its subfamily to use its hairs in direct contact attacks, they said.

"This new finding is a great contribution to the knowledge of the arachnids in Colombia, and a sign of how much remains to be discovered," the researchers said in a statement.

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